It was a cold, clear day in early December. I was bundled up against the chilly air with full-on long winter coat and toasty lined gloves. In front of the WQAD building in Moline, I stood with their news anchor, Katherine Bauer, and a uniformed marine to speak on camera about my sponsorship of the annual “Toys for Tots” event and my heart for “at-risk” children in our community. It was a “feel good” moment: I fully embraced the cause to which I had donated, loved raising awareness and was thrilled to see the big pile of new, assorted toys piled up in front of the station. It felt magical, but I had no idea that the real magic was yet to unfold.
The on-camera segment ended and the three of us exclaimed over the early success of the event as evidenced by the cars that steadily drove up to us to drop off what would become treasured toys to the children of our community. During a lull, a stooped, elderly woman walked up to us. She wore no coat despite the cold temperature and there was no car in sight from whence she had come. On her face was a big smile and she had a twenty-dollar bill clutched in her outstretched hand. We greeted her and
she told her story: “I was in line at the grocery store this morning and a miracle happened! The person behind me paid for my groceries. I’m on a fixed income and nothing like that had ever happened to me before. I’ve been blessed, so I want to help the kids.” The bill was well-worn and crumpled and it was evident that she had dug down deep and given from the little she had. It brought tears to my eyes and exhibited a shining example of the real spirit of Christmas giving and love. We thanked her and I watched her walk away…standing just a little taller.
This year and in years to come when I am celebrating Christmas festivities with my family and opening gifts that we are very blessed to afford, I’ll remember the “Christmas Angel of 2019” and her lesson of pure generosity. Happy Holidays to everyone!